It has become standard to post pictures of your children online. On average, parents will post over 1,000 photos of their child before the child's fifth birthday. But that's a trend that desperately needs to stop for these five reasons:
1. Identity fraud is really easy with social media
When a new baby is born, the proud parents usually share details — the day and time of birth, the gender and the full name. This is all that's necessary to start building a fake identity of the baby. Combine that with photos over the years, and it's possible to forge identity documents.
What's just as worse is everyone who follows your social media pages is likely to be able to guess all of your security questions: What's your mother's maiden name? The name of your first pet? The name of your elementary school? It's all readily available to anyone who cares to look for it, and suddenly someone else on the internet can answer all of the security questions on your child's bank account — and maybe your own security questions, too.
2. Child pornography sites get half of their photos from social media
According to a study by the Australian government, about half of the photos on a popular child pornography site came directly from Instagram and Facebook. Most of these pictures begin as innocent posts by parents, who share pictures of their kids online doing normal, everyday things. Predators can then take those photos and use them for their own disturbing purposes, sometimes using the child's picture to create a "profile" of obscene images. This mother shares her horrifying story of what happened when a sexual predator used a picture of her daughter.
3. Oversharing damages your relationship with your children
"Sharenting" (referring to parents who overshare on social media) creates damaged relationships between parents and their children. Parents who overshare on social media end up missing out on real life because they're so concerned about how their real-life events will look on social media. It affects how the kids behave in front of their parents and creates a communication barrier.
4. Social media teaches kids that popularity is the only thing that matters
According to this study, kids value fame over any other goal, including financial success and self-acceptance. When parents share on social media constantly, children learn that attention from others is an accurate measure of how much they are worth.
5. You don't have a right to post pictures of your child
Privacy laws are changing, and so are social norms. When you post a picture of your child without their permission, your child may be embarrassed by it later. This has been the subject of several lawsuits, and as legalities continue to catch up to technology, it may be against the law for you to post pictures of your children without their consent.
Really, if the picture isn't of you, then you should consider the feelings of others before posting it — including the future feelings of your children.